Uncanny X-Men annual #4
Issue(s): Uncanny X-Men annual #4
Nightcrawler's backstory is one of the better examples of the hysteria that mutants have faced. He was looked like a demon and was feared and mistrusted because of it. Throwing actual demons into his backstory complicates matters and gives the ignorant villagers a legitimate reason for their actions.
Dr. Strange shows up...
...to help the X-Men navigate through a phony version of Dante's Inferno to help Amanda, Nightcrawler, and their mother work through a past misunderstanding.
This isn't exactly a top quality issue. It's not horrible, but it's a bit throwaway despite JRJR's nice art...
...and it's a bit damaging to Nightcrawler's character and the X-Men's focus on the mutant theme, in my opinion.
Well, it's not entirely throwaway. Claremont uses this issue to officially welcome Kitty Pryde as a member of the team.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Wolverine is still wearing his yellow and blue costume, placing this before Uncanny X-Men #139.
Continuity Implant? N
Reprinted In: N/A
Inbound References (2): show
Amanda Sefton, Colossus, Dr. Strange, Margali Szardos, Nightcrawler, Professor X, Shadowcat (Kitty Pryde), Storm, Wolverine
Huh, shouldn't this take place before X-Men 139?
Can you say why you think so?
I'm traveling right now and can't check but i thought this was a standalone issue with no dependencies.
I think he means that Wolverine is wearing his yellow costume in this issue but he starts wearing his brown costume in Uncanny X-Men 139, so this has to take place before issue 139.
Thanks Chaim and Michael. I've moved this back a bit to account for Wolverine's costume.
I also see that i'm out of sync with the MCP on Dr. Strange's appearance, but i think his guest appearances here, Cap #250, and ASM annual #14 should be able to fit in any gap in his book and the Defenders.
I never got the double fake-out: Margali built the fake Hell, but Amanda sent them all there, posing as Margali, in order to show Margali that Nightcrawler wasn't a bad guy. It seemed like an incredibly roundabout and risky approach.
I love how, in the Marvel Universe, Dante Alighieri ACTUALLY went to Hell. I feel like that should be an issue of S.H.I.E.L.D.
The real disappointment is, if you told me today that JRJr was going to do a giant-size story comic of the X-Men in Hell, I would expect something really awesome. This was really tame and basically looked nothing like him except for the faces on Minos and Margali. I can understand why Claremont was never enamoured of JRJr on the title. How much better a job would he have done if it was after his run on Daredevil, what with the Dire-Wraith-looking Mephisto!
I was also disappointed how this story thoroughly undermined the mutant panic thing in his original appearance. Originally, he's just misunderstood, and everyone hates him because he's different! Now they were after him because he snapped his brother's neck.
A lot of Claremont's little reveals in this Annual were rather contrived too, such as when Nightcrawler falls unconscious, Storm is like, "hey, when I was a kid, I learned how to disable burglar alarms! That means I can totally figure out this bleeding-edge medical scanning technology (that probably has alien components) without a sweat!"
Given revelations over recent years (that Mein Gott they used in First Class), my favourite part of this story though is when Doctor Strange determines that Nightcrawler is not even part-demon. If the Eye of Agamotto has spoken, that's that. And Claremont was writing Dr. Strange at the time, so it's totally legit!
The greatest thing in this comic though is the letters column and all the Dark Phoenix overflow.
The "Dante actually went to Hell" idea is potentially in conflict with the other fake Inferno introduced in Ka-Zar the Savage, since in that series Dante is actually a part of Belasco's origin. Did he see the fake one first and then go to Hell, or vice versa, or what? Maybe we do need Hickman to sort it all out in SHIELD.
I think Hickman missed a major opportunity when he introduced Isaac Newton and Morga's child, Leonid, by not revealing Newton as Phaeder given he and Morga were the parents of the Cosmic Assassin, Maelstrom.
Klaus Janson was the originally announced inker for this.
We never did discover a back story for Margali Szardos but I think I've finally determined Claremont's real intent (which thankfully wipes out my previous theory of Magda becoming Mystique which I was never comfortable with:). Her names are telling to what Claremont may have intended though.
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